day : 15/09/2010 14 results

Update: Shed fire on 25th SW blamed on ‘smoking materials’

(Video added 12:26 am)
ORIGINAL 10:46 PM REPORT: The call’s listed as a “garage fire” in the 5000 block of 25th SW (map) – but Seattle Fire Department has sent a fair amount of units. One neighbor tells us she’s seen a lot of smoke, though it seems to be dying down now. No word of any injuries. We’re off to check it out. 11:36 PM UPDATE: Back from the scene. It was actually a detached shed behind a house; the incident commander confirmed nobody was hurt, but had yet to talk to investigators re: the cause (we’ll check in the morning). From what we could see from the street, though, it was still smoldering, and firefighters were still putting water on it.

UPDATE, 1:08 PM THURSDAY: SFD spokesperson Helen Fitzpatrick tells WSB the fire is blamed on “smoking materials” that weren’t discarded properly; damage is estimated at $7,000.

Changing course? New West Seattle Golf Course driving-range plan

(Click to see tonight’s new rendering in full: Top is west; the lighter area in the upper right is the previously suggested driving-range area; the area with dots around it is the newly proposed area)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The design team for the West Seattle Golf Course‘s future driving range unveiled a proposal at tonight’s second public meeting that differs dramatically from what was roughed out for the first meeting – with architect Todd Schroeder calling it “a driving range that fits in the area where we can actually build it.”

That refers to what the team (bios here) explained were daunting challenges to the originally proposed site (see upper right of top rendering), close to the slope that runs down alongside West Seattle Rotary Viewpoint Park and parallels 35th SW. Among those challenges: It would have required a $1 million retaining wall (taken out of the $2.5 million construction budget for the $3.4 million project), as well as blocking the park view with tall netting, and other cons (such as removing trees, and hauling away more than 3,000 loads of soil during an excavation process). Those challenges led the team, overseen by the Parks Department‘s Garrett Farrell, to focus on a different section of the golf course site – one not requiring “digging into a nasty, gooey hillside,” as Farrell put it. (With the possibility, consultant Bob Thorpe said, of maybe even “blowing out” 35th SW.)

The area that’s now under consideration for the driving range is further east, not level but not on the slope, and would have driving-range users facing south-southeast into the golf course site from a starting point close to the existing clubhouse and parking lot. (See the full rendering here.)

But the newly proposed design drew sharp criticism from golfers (who, along with site neighbors, were present in much bigger numbers than the first meeting) – because it would mean big changes for the existing first and ninth holes on the golf course (the previous driving-range proposal would not have affected the course itself at all). One declared it a “no-go”; another vowed “revolt” if the course changes went through.

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Fiery creation: Highland Park artist Kay Kirkpatrick’s achievement

Highland Park Action Committee chair Dan Mullins shares the news of a big achievement for artist Kay Kirkpatrick, an HPAC member and Highland Park Improvement Club board member – her work “Rescue” will be celebrated as the new Seattle Fire Station 35 is dedicated in Crown Hill on September 25th. Dan shares the official announcement here. The photo of Kay’s work is used with permission of our fellow community-collaborative neighborhood-news publishers at My Ballard, from their tour of the new station last month.

Mortgage Help Day in West Seattle: October 2 at South Seattle Community College

September 15, 2010 5:57 pm
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 |   Announcements

Just out of the WSB inbox:

Families facing foreclosure will have the opportunity to meet with their mortgage lenders and get free one-on-one advice and resources from state- certified housing counselors at Mortgage Help Day on October 2.

Last year, over 30,000 families in Washington State lost their homes to foreclosure. With another wave of adjustable rate mortgages resetting and the economy still staggering, it is estimated that nearly 41,000 Washington homeowners are likely to face foreclosure this year.

To support homeowners and communities as well as build awareness around the need for changes in public policy to better stabilize our communities, Statewide Poverty Action Network (Poverty Action) and partner agencies are hosting Mortgage Help Day on October 2, 2010 from 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. at South Seattle Community College.

The free event will connect homeowners with lenders and HUD-certified housing counselors, as well as help attendees understand the foreclosure process and take steps to help remedy the crisis. To date, lenders who will be attending the event include Chase Bank and Wells Fargo. Attendees should bring a photo ID, social security card, last two years of W-2s and tax returns, last two pay stubs and bank statements as well as all mortgage documents (note that pre-registration is required for translation services). For more information, call (206) 694-6794 or go to

“Because lenders, borrowers, homeowners and our communities all benefit if foreclosures are avoided, we are committed to helping vulnerable homeowners gain a broad range of options to maintain their housing,” said Bev Spears, Executive Director of Poverty Action. “Homeowners who are worried about losing their homes or are facing foreclosure should attend our free Mortgage Help Day to gain a deeper understanding about the process, timeline and options to avoid foreclosure.”

In addition to helping Washington homeowners understand and navigate the foreclosure process and possible options, Mortgage Help Day will highlight the overwhelming need for laws to help protect Washington homeowners from foreclosure. Poverty Action is promoting legislation that would create a mandatory mediation process in Washington State to give homeowners every opportunity to avoid foreclosure and maximize the ability for loan modifications. In 23 other states and municipalities around the country, this mediation process has helped 60 percent of participants avoid losing their homes.

Traffic alert: West Seattle Bridge offramp to NB I-5 blocked

September 15, 2010 5:44 pm
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 |   West Seattle news

Per WSDOT via Twitter, a semi is blocking the ramp from the eastbound West Seattle Bridge to northbound I-5, and that’s backing up The Bridge. Refresh to see the latest “live” version of the bridge image above (from SDOT).

Finally official: King County Water Taxi year-round for West Seattle

Back in July, we reported that the King County Water Taxi had found enough money to continue its West Seattle run through December, but money for the first few months of the year hadn’t been secured yet. Now, it has. Just announced in King County Councilmember Jan Drago‘s e-mail newsletter, the Water Taxi will continue uninterrupted – though the months of November through March will be morning/evening commute hours only. More details here. 4:05 PM UPDATE: Drago staffer Jodie Vice explains that the funding for this winter was freed up when the county got a Puget Sound Regional Council grant for maintenance work; since the maintenance already was in the budget, the money could be moved to operations. For at least the two following winters, she says, it’ll be covered by state funding given to the county for mitigation of Alaskan Way Viaduct construction effects. P.S. Speaking of maintenance – don’t do a doubletake if you see a different Water Taxi next Friday through Wednesday – the Rachel Marie is going in for some work, and the Spirit of Kingston will replace it, no schedule changes.

Strength of Place Village: White Center ceremony, West Seattle ties

September 15, 2010 2:55 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | White Center

(Photos by Christopher Boffoli)
The groundbreaking this morning was in White Center, but the project has strong ties to West Seattle: Strength of Place Village, a 30-unit housing complex for low-income families, is headed up by partners including Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, White Center Community Development Association, and Capitol Hill Housing. DNDA executive director Derek Birnie was among those who helped break ground (photo above), as did West Seattle’s State Senator Joe McDermott – here’s Birnie at the podium with CHH’s Chris Persons:

We’ve got more photos in a longer report on partner site White Center Now.

Milestone for West Seattle Snowsports Council (& meeting tonight!)

September 15, 2010 2:47 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | WS & Sports

One meeting tonight that we didn’t have on the calendar yet – and the group itself just got big news – the West Seattle Snowsports Council. Greg Whittaker from Mountain to Sound Outfitters (WSB sponsor and site of tonight’s meeting) says:

We have just got confirmation that the West Seattle Snowsports Council and 4H will be working toward a partnership this winter! … We are excited to see the process moving along, and will be holding a
meeting tonight at Mountain to Sound Outfitters to discuss:

Halloween Ski Swap Volunteers and Logistics
Youth development
IT support, such as web development and registration systems
Location- which mountains

This is a great step forward for West Seattle Snowriders!

The meeting’s at 6 tonight at M2SO, which is at 3602 SW Alaska in The Triangle.

West Seattle change of command: ‘Thank you’ from Capt. Kessler

As we first reported this morning, a change at the top is imminent for West Seattle police – the Southwest Precinct is getting a new commander – though he’s not new to the precinct. Steve Paulsen, who was Operations Lieutenant at SWP when he left this January for a downtown job, has just been promoted to Captain, and will take over back here in West Seattle on October 1st. Capt. Joe Kessler, who has been running the precinct since spring 2008, is taking over as commander of the West Precinct. (He’s shown at right with Precinct Advisory Council chair Pete Spalding, from Night Out last month.) Capt. Kessler asked if we would share this thank-you letter:

Southwest Precinct Residents:

During the past two and a half years I have had the pleasure and privilege of serving as the commander of the Southwest Precinct. During this time I have been continually amazed at the incredible quality of the work done on a daily basis by the men and women of the Southwest Precinct. The ability to provide our community with quality service is due in large part to the great working relationships our officers have with all of you.

Your support of the Seattle Police Department and your officers, in particular, has helped create an environment that allows great work to be done. As I prepare to move to my new assignment at the West Precinct, I would like to take a moment to say thank you for making my tenure at the Southwest Precinct one of the most rewarding of my career. It has been a pleasure to serve your community. I look forward to assisting Captain Steve Paulsen, who will be returning to the Precinct as the new commander, as we transition during the next few weeks.

Again, thank you for your support and we look forward to continuing to provide the quality service you have grown to expect from the Southwest Precinct.


Captain Joe Kessler
Southwest Precinct

While asking if we’d publish that letter, Captain Kessler said he wished he could thank everybody in the community personally. Meantime, the briefing that included news of the precinct command change also included a document that wasn’t much discussed, with additional details about the department’s future plans and priorities as new Chief John Diaz settles into the job; we’ll be reviewing that for another followup. (The full news release, with attachments, from this morning’s brief is now online here.)

Admiral Neighborhood Assoc.: Viaduct, concerts, community

September 15, 2010 12:56 pm
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 |   Alaskan Way Viaduct | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Transportation issues and community involvement took center stage at Tuesday night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting at the Admiral Church, as the group also celebrated a busy summer of activities and looked ahead to the future.

About 20 people gathered for the meeting, which was ANA’s first meeting since July 14 (see WSB coverage here), after an August hiatus to focus on the successful Summer Concerts at Hiawatha.

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Live at City Hall: New commander for the Southwest Precinct

10:33 AM: We’re on the seventh floor of City Hall with a couple dozen other media reps, where the mayor and police chief are about to appear for a briefing. The news release has just been handed out and it confirms the Southwest Precinct is getting a new commander – a familiar face, though – Steve Paulsen, who left as its Operations Lieutenant back in January, will return as Captain, and as its commander. The current SW commander, Capt. Joe Kessler, who’s been in West Seattle for two years, will become captain of the West Precinct. More to come.

10:43 AM UPDATE: The briefing has begun. The mayor is here with four top SPD leaders including Chief John Diaz. The Southwest Precinct command change is part of a larger change in command structure departmentwide. As part of that, Acting Deputy Chief Nick Metz (second from right in our photo) is now officially Deputy Chief Metz, and in charge of “community” (he was in West Seattle a week and a half ago for the briefing after the Admiral Way shooting and we are about to hear from him) – “community” is one of three priorities that Chief Diaz has listed, with another being “not being afraid” (paraphrase).

10:53 AM UPDATE: Deputy Chief Metz – who was introduced by Chief Diaz as the second-in-command of the department, now – says that community outreach will permeate every part of policing. And he says the community’s partnership is vital to that. Returning to the podium, Chief Diaz has briefly listed the command changes at precincts (not all precincts are getting new commanders) – Capts. Paulsen and Kessler are not here, but Chief Diaz says the changes are effective October 1st, and mentions that the West Precinct to which Capt. Kessler is moving is one of the toughest jobs in the department. (The SW Precinct commander before Capt. Kessler, Capt. Mike Fann, also is moving, from Traffic to Homeland Security.) The chief is now talking about “de-escalation” and decision-making at the scene – in light of recent incidents, including (though he hasn’t mentioned it specifically) the Admiral Way shooting. He says they will be making some changes in training to work more on “de-escalation.” He also says they will increase the number of Tasers – they have 300 now. They also will expand the use of video.

(Afternoon note – we’re putting the rest of the as-it-happened coverage after a jump – also, the full official news release is now available online, if you’re interested in reading it):Read More

Video: Spud Fish and Chips 75th anniversary party

September 15, 2010 10:22 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle restaurants

ORIGINAL 10:22 AM REPORT: As expected, there’s a line outside Spud Fish and Chips on Alki – about to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a day of prizes, specials, and live music (details in our Tuesday preview).

ADDED 12:01 PM: Can’t have a Spud celebration without … as seen in the West Seattle Grand Parade, among other public appearances … the actual Spud! Also sighted: Steve Johnson from the city, reading a proclamation declaring this “Alki Spud Fish and Chips Day“:

The “I Love Spud” essay contest is kicking off too – watch the Spud Facebook page for how to enter your essay.

Expand Dakota Place Park? Junction Neighborhood Org. pitched

That’s Jennifer Cargal at the dedication of Dakota Place Park one year ago, an exciting occasion for Cargal and other neighborhood advocates who worked hard to get the old substation site (map) turned into a park. Last night, she was at the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s meeting, requesting support for a possible expansion of the year-old park. She says there’s a chance that money from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Acquisition Fund could be used to buy a parcel just north of the park, once planned for residential development. According to Cargal, this idea is in a very preliminary stage – negotiations aren’t even under way – but Parks is doing some appraisal work “and trying to get a measure of community support.” One key point, though: Levy money would just cover the costs through purchase of the land and clearing it – actual park development would then require a community campaign (which is what it took to finalize Dakota Place, and other neighborhood park projects such as Junction Plaza Park and Ercolini Park). One park neighbor who came to the JuNO meeting says she’s “amazed” at how many people use Dakota Place Park as it is now; Cargal also mentioned the students at nearby Tilden School, who (as reported here last spring) have “adopted” the park and do regular cleanups there during the school year. “I think there’s a really powerful argument for adding open space while we have this opportunity,” she said. What do YOU think? Comments, she said, can be sent to Chip Nevins, in the Parks Department’s real-estate division (here’s his contact info); Cargal’s making the rounds of community groups asking for their support, and JuNO pledged theirs. One more report from last night’s JuNO meeting – a followup on the Junction Parking Program – coming up later.

West Seattle Wednesday: From fish, to golf, to a groundbreaking…

(Big tugboat spotted in Elliott Bay yesterday, post-fog, by David Hutchinson)
From the WSB West Seattle Events calendar: The 75th anniversary celebration at Spud Fish and Chips on Alki, previewed here yesterday, starts with a ceremony at 10:15 am (remember to bring donations for the West Seattle Food Bank to get the $2.75 today-only special for $1.75) … Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association is one of the partners in the new Strength of Place Village in White Center, breaking ground this morning at 11 am … At 5:30, it’s one of the final meetings of the Citizens Advisory Group for the Murray Basin Combined Sewer Overflow Project (time, location, schedule here) … Also tonight, it’s the 2nd design meeting for the future West Seattle Golf Course driving range, as previewed here yesterday, 7 pm @ the golf course clubhouse … The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council also meets at 7, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center … And West Seattleites are invited to the big presentation tonight at Benaroya Hall, starting at 7 pm, about Reshaping Seattle’s Central Waterfront – contenders for “the role of lead designer” on the waterfront, post-Viaduct, will make their case for getting the job, and the city is hoping for bigtime public involvement (they’ve even been advertising the event on neighborhood-news sites like ours). … More on the calendar!